New Zealand Saddleback

Distribution There are the North and South Island sub species both of which are found mostly in the middle and lower layers of the forest. Saddlebacks were once common in New Zealand's forests but a rapid decline began in the mid 1800 caused by loss of habitat and introduced predators.

Diet The saddleback's primary diet is insects and the fruit of native trees.

General The young are known as jacks. The jacks, prior to their first moult are plain brown with the colour of the "saddle" forming with its next growth of feathers. Saddleback populations are now either captive or on off shore islands. The South Island saddleback has only 650 individuals remaining.

Photos © Dr Paddy Ryan

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